Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is coming under fresh criticism, this time for suggesting that the Federal Communications Commission should fine a critic who insulted him on live television.
The incident happened Wednesday on the Fox News Channel's "The Kelly File" program. Rich Lowry, a prominent conservative commentator and frequent guest of the show, made a crude reference to castration to make that point that Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina dominated Trump at last week's Republican debate.
Trump reacted furiously, taking to Twitter to demand Fox News apologize for allowing the "clueless pundit" to "use such foul language" on television. He also said Lowry "should not be allowed on TV and the FCC should fine him."
Fiorina, the ex-Hewlett Packard CEO, is widely perceived to have won the most recent Republican debate and has been running as high as second in some opinion polls.
"[Trump has] insulted and bullied his way to the top of the polls," Lowry said. "No one was able to best him ever, except for this tough lady on that stage, and it must kill him. He must be simmering about it to this night."
The angry reaction by Trump, who is known for his oversized ego and the trademark personal insults he frequently hurls at his political opponents, quickly drew comments from a wide range of analysts.
Much of the reaction centered on whether the reality television star could take verbal abuse as easily as he can give it. Others pointed out that Trump apparently does not know that while the FCC regulates broadcast communications, it has no power over cable television, of which Fox News is a part.
"Glass-jawed Trump can't take a punch," said columnist Richard Roeper on Twitter. "Also, FCC can't fine cable channels. Also, who would 'ban' someone from TV?"
"So in a Trump admin, would government be expanded to include FCC regulation of cable? Legitimate question," said a Twitter post by Dana Loesch, a conservative talk radio host.
Feud with Fox
Trump has already been engaged in a long-running feud with Fox News, which he says has not given fair coverage to his presidential campaign. Earlier Wednesday, Trump announced he was boycotting the conservative news channel "for the foreseeable future."
The dispute began in the first presidential debate, when moderator Megyn Kelly, host of Fox's "The Kelly File," asked Trump a pointed question regarding his past sexist comments about women, including calling them "fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals."
Following the debate, Trump unleashed the first in a series of angry tirades of tweets toward Kelly, and later accused the talk show host of having "blood coming out of her wherever," a statement many interpreted as a reference to a female's menstrual blood.
Trump has also found himself in hot water after he poked fun at Fiorina's physical appearance, saying in an interview: "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?" Trump later said he was referring to Fiorina's persona, and not her actual face.
Those comments helped Fiorina deliver what many saw as a huge blow to Trump in the second debate. Addressing her rival directly, Fiorina said "I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said," causing the billionaire to blush.
Despite many political commentators repeatedly predicting his downfall, the perceived gaffes have failed to dent Trump's frontrunner status.
The latest Fox News poll showed Trump staying on top, with 26 percent among Republican primary voters, well ahead of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who came in at 18 percent. Fiorina was tied for third place, along with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, at 9 percent.